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Lunchtime with a Curator: Decorative Arts Design Series

American Views in Scenic Wallpapers

Daytime Program (Session 2 of 3-Session Series) on Zoom

Monday, April 26, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. ET
Code: 1K0087
$20 - Member
$25 - Non-Member
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Clockwise: The Miniature Collection of R. Lee Taylor (Museum of the Shenandoah Valley), In the Hands of Women: Original Jewelry Design in Early to Mid-20th-Century Paris

Save when you purchase the Lunchtime with a Curator spring series!


Join curator Elizabeth Lay, a regular lecturer on the topics of fashion, textiles, and American furniture, for an image-rich lunchtime lecture series focusing on decorative arts and design topics.


American Views in Scenic Wallpapers

Once paper could be affordably manufactured, it was only a matter of time before it became a luxurious method to decorate the interior of homes and demonstrate refinement and sophistication. By the early 19th century, landscape wallpapers were at the height of popularity, exemplified by French manufacturers Zuber et Cie and Dufour. These companies were best known for their block-printed panoramic wallpapers depicting views of classical Italy, bucolic Swiss landscapes, and a heroic American history.

Zuber’s “Les Vues d’Amerique du Nord” was an instant success in the United States and served as an example of cultural imperialism. American manufacturers attempted to create their own panoramic landscape wallpapers with varying degrees of success. Some added scenes from the Revolutionary War, further emphasizing American pride and independence. Wallpaper historian Margaret Wood joins Lay for a conversation surrounding extraordinary examples of scenic wallpapers from some of the grand homes and museums throughout the country.

Wood is a second-year master’s candidate in the GW Corcoran–Smithsonian Program in Decorative Arts and Design History who has worked at the Winterthur Museum, National Building Museum, and the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum.


If you are interested in additional Lunchtime with a Curator spring sessions, see below:


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This program is part of our
Smithsonian Associates Streaming series.